Newt In A Tea Cup

{September 22, 2007}   May I present my new girlcrushes?

Or how stereotypes make you loose money and make everyone miss out.

Wendy Cooling of Bookstart sounds damn cool to me and she gets it. So does Amanda Craig who sums it up; “Publishers are quite lazy on this issue. They know that girls are more likely to enjoy reading, so it’s easier for them simply to target them. They don’t seem to realise that boys are capable of just as broad a range of reading as girls, once they get started,” she said.

Literature is important because not only is it fun but it also enriches your experiences and paints a new extension on the frame throughout we see the world. If it’s really good literature it helps you vocalise what you’ve known all along. Growing up I would gobble down Enyd Blyton, The Odyssey amid a plethora of mythologies and Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”. Even now the benefits of such an education arise and it mostly comes from the fact it truly was an education that I pursued of my own volition and it was not a curriculum. Not only that but the more you read the more you can read. Look, I hardly enjoyed studying T.S. Eliot and, no I don’t understand what he was on about either (apart from doom, death, snobbery and sex naturally) but at least I didn’t have to look up every other word or reference.

Now imagine missing out on all those good books because some ass of a publisher decided to stereotype them to hell in a way that would make any self-respecting girl ashamed and any boy bullied.


Second girlcrush of the day: Emma Thompson.

As if Jane Austen and Harry Potter weren’t fabulous enough Ms Thompson is throwing down the gauntlet against the sex industry and prostitution.

There may yet be change in the air. Let’s get this rolling.


In this morning’s Argus Lite I had the pleasure of reading one of the most preposterously hilarious letters to the editors ever penned. The jist was “I saw some signs about lad’s mags and strip clubs being sexist but feminists would never have a go at homosexuals or lesbians enjoying porn so they’re politically correct hypocrites.”

After picking myself off the floor and wiping the tears of laughter from my eyes I started thinking.

The focus here is all wrong. It’s saying that men have a right and need to express their heterosexuality by enjoying the humiliation and vulnerability of women as if they’re was no other way to get aroused.

One person’s rights stop where another’s starts.

Men’s right to jack off does not overrule a woman’s right to respect and personhood.

Study after study has shown the detrimental effects of prostitution and stripping on women.

Studies even show that women in the sex industry suffer the same condition as shell shocked war veterans– Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome amongst others.

Lad’s mags do not respect women as people. Strip clubs are in the business of selling women’s body and looks for a man’s pleasure. Need I remind everyone that world slavery is more prevalent today then it was when it was legal? A large part of this is sexual slavery and traficking. The industry that promotes this serial rape and genocide is not one that anyone has a “right” to enjoy.

And what the hell does all that have to do with political correctness?

What it has to do with sexuality is interesting though. The key issue is consent or more precisely full autonomy of body and mind and soul.

If a woman or man is raped for the purpose of kicks it does not matter what the sexuality of the person watching the footage is. What matters was that the person was abused.

But lets talk about sexuality and porn for a second.

Another thing is that people in the GBLT community do not seem all taken by the porn out there anyway. It is incredibly heterocentrist that they would prefer the straight misogynist man’s version of sex. There is more than one expression of sexuality and I am not advocating an end to that. What feminists advocate are healthy ways that show both (or more!) members of the relationship as equals with equal enjoyment and equal drive.

Funnily enough that’s the definition of erotica that I found in one dictionary.

Yaoi (homosexual erotica) and yuri (lesbian erotica) are somewhat different. For one thing they tend to be written or drawn- the only people involved are the creator’s and viewers. And whilst those mediums are definitely not free from their problems (I’ve just started reading Lolita which I’m not sure what to label– it’s certainly a dangerous and terrifying but compelling book. Never mind the badly written smut out there that relies on gender clichés and transforms one character into the “female” subservient of the pair) there has been a lot more common decency involved than anything I have ever seen in any lad’s mags or heard of in any strip clubs.

Again, I don’t give a fig what people do in their bedrooms and what turns them on. What I do care about, as a feminist is the mental and physical well being of those around me.

Objectification is not healthy on any front – what the hell does sexuality have to do with that?

Why the hell would I advocate such a confused (and frankly ridiculous and irrelevant) stance because of the notion that there is only one kind of sexual pleasure, which is above reproach?

I’m astonished they even published such drivelling apologist ill thought out and researched crap.

For once this issue should be about the women’s rights not the men’s penises.

{December 15, 2006}   “Vice Girls” or “Women”?

I believe that the presentation of women in the press and the recent spate of murders are linked. Let’s look at what we’ve got now.

We’ve got a scourge of papers talking about “Vice Girls”. The wording is very important there – look.

“Vice”. The connotations of that are tricky. Vice is bad, for sure but we aren’t sure whose vice we’re talking about now- the johns or the prostitutes? The fact is, it’s not made clear at all. We take what we will. Men, and us women to an extent, see vice as something regrettable but not really all avoidable or too tragic. There is a connotation of accommodation here – the “girls” are accommodating something for the men. In this case a sex transaction. They are receptacles for the overflowing vice that inevitably comes out. Of course.

And yet this is problematic for us cultured and civilised patriarchy loving citizens.
After all patriarchy teaches men to value ownership and women to value being owned; hence expressions like “my girl”, “my woman”- the possessive always in front of the subject to make clear what is important in the relationship. But we don’t like the object (the woman) to be simply lending her body- she has to be fully owned. That is a large part of the constant virgin fetish.

A woman must at the very least be completely besotted by the man and heartbroken when he leaves. If one is familiar with ancient myths and legends she will hopefully consider herself void and null once the transaction is terminated and commit suicide. We, as a culture, love the scorned woman who can’t get over her One True Love. (Meanwhile the One True Love is spilling his seed somewhere else.)

And whilst there is a transaction and the prostitute’s body is owned for a time bought, once that is over she moves on. She stops belonging to him and she’s really not torn up about never seeing him again. Another day’s work. And that, to many men, is inexcusable.

The problem with prostitution, to them, isn’t that it’s badly regulated, dangerous and physically and mentally very often degrading work. It’s that the woman doesn’t massage his ego all the time. That he knows she’s being paid for it and that he knows that she’ll do it to someone else. He has ownership but it’s not in full.

That is one of the reasons why women who work as prostitutes are often considered the lowest- they don’t work by the rules of relationships that men feel entitled to (maybe they expect them to be there in the morning cooking breakfast- Goodness knows!)

A woman who takes part in “Vice” is obviously a very, very bad woman.

Let’s look at the second part. “Girls”.

None of the women murdered were under 18. They are “women” not “girls”. Why is this important? Because a girl is young. A girl is naive. A girl needs taking care of. Or maybe a slap on the wrist. Girls don’t know how to think for themselves. People need to look out for girls but don’t need to take them seriously.

Whilst there’s something about girls that we like to think of as sweet- there is nothing “sweet” about prostitution. That is a perversion of girl and by combining the two there is a manifold effect. The nefarious effect of prostitution on those women is lessened to make the men seem less seedy and at the same time, the women are portrayed as disobeying and incapable. Stupid.
No one takes a “girl” seriously.

And these girls did something bad; Maybe the worst thing in the patriarchy (apart from being completely independent). So they deserve a punishment. Since they are only girls – and passive bad “vice girl” receptacles at that- it stands to reason that they are terminated for it.
And look- a “Ripper” did it. A divine dispenser of justice. Not a man. Not an entitled arsehole. A “Ripper”. How archaic. How quaint and full of Victoriana. A kind of cultural heritage. Aren’t we proud of it?

Personally I’m not.

But it stands to reason that following the completely twisted logic of the system the news reports are not sympathetic. The “girls” had it coming after all. So there is much tongue wagging but not much empathy. After all us “real women” play by the rules they decided. We make mature decisions that they approve of. We’re complete tools but we are “women” because they decide we are and we obey them. We are respectable.

More importantly we don’t want to imagine that we could have anything in common with those who are considered fair game for men’s violence. Not even our gender.

If you don’t think this is a gendered distinction replace “girl” with “boy” in the headlines. It just doesn’t seem to work or be seen much does it?

So they are neutered girls. Not women. A woman is your Mother. Your sister, your teacher. You respect women. But girls are things that you should have control over and should discipline.
We call them vice girls so they are treated like it, and they refer to it like that when they report it in the papers. It continues. Until these are no longer girls but women in their full proud stature and authority, men will continue believing they are allowed to “discipline”. Whether that discipline is a slap, a word or a murder.

This growth needs to continue in not only lexis but attitude. The two define each other.
It’s difficult to take a “Vice Girl” seriously.

But we are Women. They are Women. And this is something we are dead serious about. Because if we aren’t we’re just dead.

et cetera